House Democrats Reach Deal on Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill, Fall Vote Expected
by Steven Ertelt
July 29, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Democrats in the House of Representatives have reached a deal on a health care bill that had the backing of party leaders but opposition from moderate members. The new deal paves the way for a committee vote this week, but a full House vote is not expected until the fall.
With the Senate also waiting until after the August Congressional recess to vote on its health care restructuring bill, pro-life advocates have more time to generate support for amendments to the bill or opposition if those changes fail to materialize.
The pro-life movement opposes the government-run health care plan as the bills in Congress currently stand.
There are dual concerns that the bills would promote taxpayer funding of abortions and insurance coverage mandates and other concerns that it would lead to health care rationing for seniors and the disabled.
Lawmakers in both the House and Senate have proposed more than 30 amendments to the bills and pro-abortion Democrats have opposed those amendments each time.
The deal has some moderate Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee supporting its version of the government-run health care plan in exchange for lowering the costs and exempting small businesses with a payroll less than $500,000 from paying for any government-sponsored health coverage.
Some of the moderate Democrats who are pro-life have already written to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that they will not support any bill that does not include specific language making sure it does not include abortion funding and insurance coverage mandates.
The deal reached today concerns unrelated issues and does not address their worries and, as a result, pro-life groups are still pushing for amendments in the committee.
A vote on those pro-life amendments, which pro-life Rep. Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican, says he will sponsor, along with other members, could have come as early as today.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee was finally expected to take up the bill and potential amendments this afternoon and a vote on the final measure could occur by Friday.
However, late Wednesday afternoon, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman, an abortion advocate, postponed the health bill markup after a backlash from liberals to the deal he cut with the mdoerates.
Waxman said he planned to meet with members of his panel on Wednesday night, resume the markup Thursday and, he hopes, pass the bil on Friday.
That would make it so each of the three committee health care proposals in the House will be up on the floor after the August recess and it will be up to Democratic leaders to determine if they will allow any pro-life amendments to make the final measure abortion neutral.
The merged bill will include the government-run plans the Education and Labor and Ways and Means committees also approved.
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